Travel Bits From a Tramp Abroad: Outbound

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I wouldn’t have made the flight I booked two months ago had a family not agreed to surrender their seats from Chicago to Dublin. I didn’t ask how long ago they booked the flight.They were happy. I was happy. I had a seat. A seat on a flight I’d booked two months ago.

Ever sat in the last row of a jet? Row 44 in the middle, past the side seats, past the windows, behind the emergency exit, on the tail? I was on the aisle, by one of two businessmen in suits. Polyester, in the case of the guy on my left. I know, because I accidentally sat on his jacket, because he was wearing it and hadn’t arranged it properly, letting it hang over onto my seat. In the last row of a jet.

Sorry, sorry. No worries. Irish brogue. Smile.

In the back of the plane there are two lavatories that reek: flush! flush! flush! With doors that open and close: squeak! slam! squeak! slam! squeak! slam!

Seven and a half hours straight.

In the back of the plane there is a kitchen: bang! bang! bang! rattle! rattle! rattle!

Seven and a half hours straight.

In the back of the plane there are flight attendants: bang! bang! bang! rattle! rattle! rattle! laugh! gossip! laugh! gossip!

(Because this is where flight attendants take their breaks, too.)

In the back of the plane there are flight attendant call alert noises: ding! ding! ding!

As the plane rumbles, picking up speed, polyester Irish businessman crosses himself subtly but I notice. I used to be Catholic.

When older Irish businessman goes into the lavatory, polyester Irish businessman confesses to me “I’m the most frightened flyer ever. That’s my boss. He’s here to distract me.”

They order red wine. And more red wine. And more red wine. Then bottles of wine, the little airplane ones.

The toilets go: squeak! slam! flush! reek! squeak! slam! reek! The kitchen goes: bang! rattle! bang! rattle! The flight attendants go: talk! laugh! talk! laugh!

“This must be hell,” says older Irish businessman.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

The Irish businessmen go: ding! ding! ding! laugh! laugh! laugh!

The flight attendants ran out of red wine.

 

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